Tag:Jorge De La Rosa
Posted on: October 16, 2010 12:52 am
 

R.I.P. Rockies: Talented trio not enough

As the sports world waits for the crowning of a champion, 22 other teams are busy preparing for spring training. What went wrong for these teams, and what does 2011 hold? MLB Facts and Rumors here at CBS Sports will be answering those questions through all of October. Today: The Colorado Rockies.

For a while there, it looked like the Rockies were going to do it again.

A 15-12 August, followed by a 10-game winning streak in early September, got the Rockies in position to pull off another of their late-season runs toward the playoffs. They were just a game back in the National League West on September 18, and Troy Tulowitzki was playing like Superman.

But alas, it was not to be. In fact, they finished in exactly the opposite fans hoped, dropping an amazing 13 of 14 to finish the season in third place, nine games out.

WHAT WENT WRONG

The Rockies got some amazing performances from their star players, but didn’t get enough help beyond those guys.

Second base was a disaster, as Clint Barmes batted .235. Todd Helton struggled with a bum back and saw his average drop 69 points. Outfielder Brad Hawpe, an All-Star a year earlier, was so bad the team released him in August. The guy who finished 2009 as the closer, Franklin Morales, got demoted. Chris Iannetta signed a three-year contract and completely forgot how to hit. Beyond the stellar Ubaldo Jimenez, none of the starters managed to finish more than a game over .500.

Troy Tulowitzki And then there were the injuries, of which the Rockies had more than their share. Aaron Cook had his leg broken by a line drive. Huston Street started the season hurt and his replacement, Manny Corpas, ended up with Tommy John surgery.  Tulowitzki broke his wrist. Four of the five starting pitchers went on the disabled list.

The other major factor was Colorado’s miserable performance on the road. A year after notching a winning road record, they went just 31-50.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Three things went very right: Tulowitzki, Jimenez and Carlos Gonzalez.

Jimenez provided the highlight of the year April 17 when he pitched the franchise’s first no-hitter (after 18 years) in Atlanta. Jimenez was untouchable in the first half of the season, going into the All-Star break 15-1 with a 2.20 ERA. Reality caught up to him in the second half, when he went 4-7, but he still finished as a 19-game winner.

Tulowitzki had one of the most spectacular months anyone has ever put together, with 15 homers and 40 RBI in the season’s final 30 games. The Rockies only had six other players with as many as 40 RBI FOR THE SEASON, let alone in a month. Tulowitzki overcame the wrist injury to finish with a .315 average and a .919 OPS.

Gonzalez arrived in a big way in his first full season, putting together an MVP-worthy campaign. He won the batting title, had 117 RBI and finished with a .974 OPS, leading the league in total bases. On July 31, he hit a walkoff homer to complete a cycle. He was just fun to watch all season.
 
HELP ON THE WAY

Chris Nelson’s time may have arrived after the problems the Rockies had at second base. Nelson batted .280 in 17 major-league games and .313 the rest of the season at Triple-A.
 
EXPECTATIONS FOR 2011

The Rockies have a nice core to work with, and the NL West showed itself to be up for grabs this season. A little better luck with injuries, another bat and better play on the road, and there’s no reason they shouldn’t contend next year.

Todd Helton SUGGESTIONS FOR 2011

The Rockies need to get deeper. They have some weapons, but this year showed they need a better supporting cast.

Word is they’re looking for another impact bat and interested in Victor Martinez. If Martinez is open to converting eventually to be a full-time first baseman, it would be a great fit. They could let Miguel Olivo go, hope Martinez can mentor Iannetta, and prepare for life after Helton.

Seth Smith is probably no longer in the plans as an everyday outfielder, and there are some options out there.

The Rockies also have to figure out the rotation, as they’re probably going to lose Jorge De La Rosa and have an option on Jeff Francis that’s probably too rich for the Rockies’ blood.

2011 PREDICTION

The Rockies could actually be headed for a step back, simply because Tulowitzki, Gonzalez and Jimenez are statistically unlikely to repeat what they did this season. If the supporting players don’t step up, it could be another third-place finish.

Check out the rest of the R.I.P. reports here.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Posted on: October 11, 2010 7:11 pm
 

Rockies begin contract talks with De La Rosa

Jorge De La Rosa The Rockies are trying to hang onto starter Jorge De La Rosa and ink him to a contract extension before he hits the market and reportedly has begun the process of talking terms, as the Denver Post reports .

De La Rosa can become a free agent at the conclusion of the season and Colorado will have only five days after the World Series to retain its exclusive negotiating rights.

Last week, general manager Dan O'Dowd said resigning De La Rosa was a "top priority" for the team, who has no easy replacement should De La Rosa walk.

Despite missing time with an injury, De La Rosa was Colorado's second-best starter behind Ubaldo Jimenez. He finished with a 4.22 ERA and 3.77 xFIP in 20 starts, whiffing 113 in 121 2/3 innings but also allowing 55 walks. The former Red Sox farmhand will be a free agent for the first time and has turned himself into a valuable commodity as a left-handed starter who went through several seasons of growing pains in the bigs with Milwaukee and Kansas City before landing in Colorado.

The Post says De La Rosa could possibly crack the $10-million barrier as a free agent. One thing's for sure: the Rockies will need to offer well over the two-year, $8.75 million deal that was offered over the winter.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .
Category: MLB
Posted on: August 29, 2010 8:03 pm
 

Brewers on hunt for pitching in offseason

Bronson Arroyo When the Milwaukee Brewers won 90 games in 2008, it was supposed to be the beginning of a string of playoff contention.

Instead, it was the Brewers high-water mark since 1992, and it's been more of the same failings since -- largely due to having one of the worst pitching staffs over the last two seasons.

That fact alone is likely to mean the demise of Ken Macha as manager, as the Boston Globe 's Nick Cafardo notes with owner Mark Attanasio possibly eyeing a shakeup.

Regardless of Macha's fate, Milwaukee's focal point this offseason will need to be acquiring pitching. The team has only Yovani Gallardo and Randy Wolf as viable rotation candidates. Dave Bush will be a free agent and will likely struggle to do better than his $4.215 million salary of 2010. Chris Narveson is pure filler, while Chris Capuano is coming off a two-year absence and is best used out of the bullpen. Free-agent import Doug Davis was a disaster to start the season then went down to injury.

Suffice it to say, Milwaukee has a lot of work ahead of itself. The good news is that payroll, at $90 million in 2010, will plummet to only $32.3 million guaranteed with only Prince Fielder due a significant raise, and even he may be on the way out. Making $11 million, Fielder will be entering his final season of arbitration and is likely to hit free agency and sign for millions the Brewers can't and shouldn't allocate to the beefy first baseman.

Cafardo says the team will make a hard push for Cliff Lee, the premier pitcher on the market. While that's admirable, it's difficult to imagine Lee agreeing to join the Brewers -- this will be his first -- and most likely last -- foray into free agency with a reasonable expectation of a massive payday.  Milwaukee isn't the type of club to commit those dollars, plus Lee may be looking to join a team with more stability in terms of year-to-year contention. It's not impossible, but it's improbable.

Another name Cafardo points out is more in line with what the Brewers can afford -- quality starters who aren't aces. That's Bronson Arroyo (pictured), who has fashioned himself a strong career as a durable, mid-rotation starter who won't break the bank, plus sign for a long deal and tie up money too far in the future to predict for a pitcher.

As long as we're naming names for the Brewers to consider in their hunt for starting pitchers, Jeremy Bonderman is another possibility. Bonderman has something rare for free-agent pitchers: the fact he's under 30. Having spent the last few seasons working back from injury, Bonderman has spent much of 2010 putting to rest concerns on how his shoulder would hold up after surgery. Bonderman will be 28 on October 28 and should be in fair demand on the market due to his age despite his 5.27 ERA in 136 2/3 innings, especially given the ERA is inflated given what he has actually produced.

Jorge De La Rosa could be an option to return to Milwaukee. The lefty finally put everything together in Colorado after stops with the Red Sox' minor-league system, a three-year run in Milwaukee and the Royals before landing in Colorado. De la Rosa has sketchy command but can punch out batters, and will spend 2011 being 30 years old.

Other possible fits include Hiroki Kuroda, who has had a solid run for the Dodgers, Ted Lilly, Carl Pavano and Javier Vazquez.

No, none are bona-fide aces, but they have that in Gallardo. What they need is depth to have any hope of contending with Cincinnati and St. Louis.

If the free-agent market is not to the team's liking, one internal option could be top prospect Jeremy Jeffress, who has put his second drug suspension behind him after testing positive for marijuana twice. Jeffress may be called up to pitch out of the bullpen in September after being converted to a reliever following the second suspension. Jeffress has a cumulative 2.32 ERA split among three levels, most recently Double-A where he has a 1.38 ERA in 13 innings. He's whiffed 15 and walked two, so clearly he has taken to the bullpen.

Is that really the best move for the fireballer? Young, power arms in the rotation are in short supply, and Jeffress could yet emerge into a low-cost, top rotation option. This decision is something the Brew Crew is currently struggling with.

"The tough part with power pitchers like him is where are they with their pitch counts," Macha says of the decision to convert Jeffress , reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel . "Are they going to pitch deep into games? The strike zone up here is tighter; hitters are more selective."

Whether Jeffress or a free agent, the Brewers' No. 1 priority this offseason is pitching. Whether they can get it remains to be seen.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Posted on: July 29, 2010 12:15 am
 

Rockies looking to sell


It appears there will be no Rocktober this year, as the Rockies have stopped their pursuit of Florida's Jorge Cantu and have flipped their store's sign from "buyer" to "seller," according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal .

The Rockies have put right-hander Aaron Cook, first baseman/outfielder Brad Hawpe and left-handed reliever Joe Beimel on the trade block.

The Phillies have "limited" interest in Cook, Rosenthal tweets .

With the limited options -- and high prices -- for relievers, Beimel could be an attractive candidate for those who fall short with the Blue Jays' trio of relievers.

The Rockies are unlikely to move left-hander Jorge De La Rosa, infielder Melvin Mora and outfielder Ryan Spilborghs.

The Rockies' home series with the Pirates was seen as an indicator of which way the team would go leading up to Saturday's deadline, and dropping the first two games to the National League's worst team is hardly an encouraging sign.

Colorado has now lost eight games in a row and are 2-11 since the All-Star break. They're now 8 1//2 games behind the Padres in the NL West and also have the Giants and Dodgers ahead of them. The Rockies are six games out of the wild card, but have four teams ahead of them.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

 
 
 
 
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